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University student government rejects sanctuary campus bill

An artist's rendering of the sculpture of a red-tailed hawk planned for the Montclair State University campus. (Image via Hanlon Sculpture Studio)

An artist’s rendering of the sculpture of a red-tailed hawk planned for the Montclair State University campus. (Image via Hanlon Sculpture Studio)

The Student Government at Montclair State University has formally rejected a bill that would designate their campus as a sanctuary campus for illegal immigrants.

Last month, student legislators from the Montclair State University Student Government vetoed a bill that would have formally requested that the university administrators designate their school as a “sanctuary campus,” effectively giving illegal aliens the same protections provided by nearby sanctuary cities. Because of the contentious nature of the issue, voting was done via anonymous ballot by the student legislators.

In seeking to designate the school as a sanctuary campus, supporters of the bill demanded in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens, protection of students’ immigration status from federal authorities, and the refusal of ICE agents physical access to campus facilities.

Following the rejection vote, SGA Legislator Welington Gomez, a sponsor of the bill, complained that the anonymous nature of the vote was “very cowardly.”

“This was our chance to protect undocumented students,” Gomez said. “If you are so passionate about the vote and you feel good about the vote, why do it in secret?”

The vote by student legislators is also indicative of the stark differences in views between students at Montclair State University and school administrators. Following President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration last January, the President of Montclair State University, Susan Cole, issued a statement in which she promised that the school would provide a safe environment for all students, regardless of their immigration status.

Last month’s vote by student legislators appears to be a clear rebuke of the school administration.

While a small number of schools have declared themselves to be “sanctuary campuses” for illegal immigrants following the election of President Donald Trump, many have resisted the designation due to fear of losing public funding from taxpayers. According to their annual report, Montclair State receives approximately $66.4 million in federal, state and private grants.


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